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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > American Pie Presents Band Camp

MOVIE REVIEWS

AMERICAN PIE PRESENTS BAND CAMP (2005)

Starring Tad Hilgenbrink, Arielle Kebbel, Jason Earles, Eugene Levy, Tara Killian, Carla Alaponte, Matt Baker, Matt Barr, Daniel Booko, Sean Briskey, Jasmine Dustin, Russell Howard, Richard Keith, Kathleen LaGue, Michael Lawson, Jun Lee Hee, Crystal Lightning, Angela Little, Ginger Lynn Allen, Dossett March, Lily Mariye, Lauren C. Mayhew, Omar Benson Miller, Norm O'Neill, Nick Rish, Timothy Stack, Claire Titleman, Rachel Veltri and Chris Owen.

Screenplay by Brad Riddell.

Directed by Steve Rash.

Distributed by Universal Pictures.  95 minutes.  Not Rated.

 

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American Pie Presents Band Camp

Like everyone else in the world, I thought the American Pie series was over, but here goes another go round.  Of course, almost all of the original characters are long gone.  Only three supporting roles are still here from the original trilogy.  Perhaps that explains why it has come out straight to video.

The main character is Matt Stifler (Tad Hilgenbrink), the younger brother of Seann William Scott's breakout cretin.  Of course, Matt has grown so much in the six years since the original film that it is nearly impossible to tell if the same actor is playing the role (it isn't; the original two films had Eli Marienthal as "Stifler's Brother.").  Hilgenbrink looks vaguely like Scott and acts just like him, though, so the new casting fits.

Nerdy supporting character Sherman "The Shermanator" (Chris Owen) also does pop up in an unconvincing cameo as the new high school guidance counselor.  (According to the timeline of the movies, Sherman is only out of high school for about three or four years -- how exactly did he get this gig?)

However, most importantly, and again not quite logically, Eugene Levy returns in his brilliant role as "Jim's Dad."  Of course, Jim is nowhere to be found and Jim's Dad had nothing with the Band Camp, so you sort of wonder why he's here, but I'm still happy to see him anytime.  (It is vaguely explained off that Jim's wife had the band camp job but got knocked up so Jim's Dad stepped in.)  Levy is not given much to do here, but he's always hilarious.

Truthfully, American Pie Presents Band Camp is a better film than American Wedding, and probably about as good as the second film in the series.  None of the three sequels can even approach the fantastic original film, though.  In fact, the whole of American Pie Presents Band Camp is not even as funny or surprising as Alyson Hannigan's single joke about Band Camp in the original film.  But the movie is still amusing in it's own lightweight way. 

The biggest problem is the main character.  Matt Stifler is a complete and total asshole, which makes it hard to root for him to win the girl, make new friends and capture the band camp Olympics cup.  Granted, his older brother was an asshole, too, but the older Stifler was never the lead character.  It's okay to have a jerk in a supporting role.  It's harder to take when he's the chief focus. 

Matt idolizes his absentee brother, who somehow in the two years since American Wedding has become the rich and famous producer of a series of Girls Gone Wild-type DVDs.  Matt desperately wants to join "the family business."  He also is constantly horny.  When a practical joke gone bad gets him sentenced to a summer in band camp, Matt remembers Jim's stories of the place as a sexual bacchanal and decides to clandestinely videotape the sexual goings on.

He has a lot to choose from -- the counselors are played by a bunch of former Playmates, the nurse is 80s porn star Ginger Lynn Allen.  Stifler also gets into a feud with the snobbish rich jerk who leads the rival band.  This leads to a whole series of the standard jokes of the series -- netcam shots of naked girls, unlikely sexual pairings, simulated masturbation with musical instruments, massive vomiting and the drinking of bodily fluids.  

Still, Stifler is surprised to find himself drawn to the nice band girl Elyse (played by Arielle Kebbel, who had previously played the wife of Rory's married lover in Gilmore Girls, and is easily the most likable actor here -- as well as being a dead-ringer for a young Mandy Moore).  Elyse eventually sees though "the Stiffmeister's" jerky exterior to find his soft, sensitive core.  (Congratulations to her, I didn't see it...)  

Their romance seems rather unlikely, but Kebbel's character is so sweet and trusting that you do hope for her sake that Stifler will get his act together, stop being a prick and help the underdogs win the big band-off.  Anyone who has ever seen one of these movies knows how it all will end, but it's still worth the ride getting there.  (12/05)

Jay S. Jacobs

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Copyright 2005   PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: December 23, 2005